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The aesthetics of the royal garden

Changdeokgung Palace was once called the Biwon, or “Secret Garden”. In the early 20th century, under Japanese occupation of Korea, the Japanese called the palace the Biwon downplay the significance and integrity of the palace by emphasizing only the peripheral gardens. This only further illustrates the superb beauty of the garden itself, as a representative of the entire palace. Behind the palace lies the huwon garden, incorporating into its grounds pavilions, landscaped lawns, trees, and flowers. The garden was an extremely private space for the king and was known as the Naewon (Inner Garden) or Geumwon (Forbidden Garden). This garden represents the real value of the Changdeokgung Palace.


The Buyongji, or lotus pond, can be found after following the forest trail along the hillside to the back of the palace. The Buyongji Pond is located on the edge of two hillsides, and a pine tree stands in the middle of the island there. To the left is the splendid feature of Buyeongjeong, a small pavilion standing to the side of the Buyongji. The Juhamnu Pavilion stands across from the Buyeojeong.


All these natural settings represent the real value of the secret huwon garden in Changdeokgung Palace. At first glance, the huwon can be viewed as just a beautiful garden but the natural setting of the huwon was constructed in consideration of philosophical interpretations. The main gate of the Juhamnu Pavillion is called the Oesumun, which means the gate for fish and water. A fish-shaped cornerstone on the corner of the Buyongji portrays a scene of fish jumping out of a pond to reach Juhamnu, the royal research institute, through Oesumun Gate.




This implies the philosophical interpretation of this gate being a gateway to success for young scholars.

Changdeokgung Palace is awash in the essence of aesthetic configuration. Each and every pavilion and pond has a philosophical interpretation.


The beauty of the palace encompasses not only architectural considerations but also philosophical as well.


More ...

The Changdeokgung Palace, Korean style at it’s best
Topography of Changdeokgung Palace
The aesthetics of the royal garden
An ecologically-rich natural environment in the heart of Seoul
Visiting Changdeokgung Palace